When considering new floors, you’ll often see labels showcasing a list of features that aren’t exactly household terms. In this post, we’ll briefly discuss the benefits of a few common flooring features.
Making an Informed Choice
Flooring is a large investment. There are many features to consider, especially given the many innovations in recent years. Unfortunately, learning the details of each feature for a once-in-a-decade purchase isn’t always feasible.
Each certification verifies an important aspect of the flooring in question. It might be related to construction, a feature, or a variety of considerations. By searching for the right certification, you can ensure that a particular flooring line will meet your family’s needs without needing to learn the ins and outs of every feature.
A few decades back, flooring manufacturers came under fire. Unfortunately, some floors released VOCs (volatile organic compounds) into the home over time. These particles significantly lowered indoor air quality. They were known to exasperate symptoms in those suffering from asthma and allergies.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t just the surface of the flooring itself that released VOCs. Over time, emissions from adhesives, grout, and underlayments could also pollute indoor air. Since these particles were typically released over time, it could be difficult to pinpoint the cause of sudden symptom flares. People often believed they were suffering from weakened immune systems.
Flooring that features the FloorScore® certification are guaranteed to minimize (or completely eliminate) these emissions. Tests are conducted by the RFCI and their worldwide partners. Each test is bias-free and includes stringent criteria under a variety of circumstances.
GreenGuard is similar to FloorScore. It measures the emissions of a flooring line by calculating air concentrations of what occupants will actually breathe. Different uses and expectations are tested, ensuring that even the most unique households can maintain proper air quality levels.
The Cradle-to-Cradle certification considers more than just a floor’s performance. It also takes into account how the floor was manufactured, how it can be used after replacement, and even the business practices of the manufacturer. The goal is to certify products based on how socially-conscious their construction is.
Both soft and hard surface flooring benefit from a variety of treatments. We’ll briefly discuss the most common here.
- R2X: Carpet floors have a reputation for being easy to stain and difficult to clean. The R2X Stain and Soil Resistance system was designed to change this. It is a permanent treatment that causes fibers to repel, rather than absorb, spills and stains.
- Scotchgard: Like R2X, Scotchgard was also designed to provide
- UV Aluminum Oxide Finish: Although engineered hardwood floors are designed for versatility, they are still susceptible to surface-layer damage. An aluminum oxide finish can help prevent scuffs and scratches. It can also help prevent the color from fading.
Some flooring lines are specifically designed to overcome common challenges. A few of these include:
- LifeGuard® Waterproof Backing: Carpet can be more problematic to your home’s subfloor than you may realize. If spills aren’t soaked away immediately (or thoroughly), they can seep through into the subfloor. There, moisture becomes trapped and can promote mold or mildew growth. Waterproof backing prevents this by keeping spills above the carpet’s surface, where they can be wiped away with ease.
- Anso Nylon: Not all carpet fiber is equal. Nylon has consistently outperformed all other fabrics in terms of durability, stain resistance, softness, and color retention. Anso Nylon is an enhanced version of this fabric that improves each of these metrics even further. Although it’s often more expensive, Anso Nylon is also easier to maintain and lasts much longer than other carpet fabrics. So, fewer replacements (if any) are needed over the life of your home.
- Engineered Hardwood Flooring: Traditional solid hardwood floors are susceptible to damage from changes in temperature and humidity. They also absorb moisture from spills and humidity. Engineered hardwood floors were designed to overcome these challenges while still providing authentic wood planks.
The DIY craze has had its influence on flooring manufacturers. They continue to develop new ways to make installation as easy as possible. Here, we’ll cover a few modern methods that are making installation as easy as possible.
- Float Installation: This is probably the fastest installation technique for hard surface floors. Planks are snapped or glued together, often over the existing floors.
- Uniclic® Locking System: There are plenty of flooring options that are waterproof themselves, but what about the subfloor? If moisture seeps through the tile or planks of your flooring, it can soak into your subfloor, potentially promoting mold and mildew growth. The Uniclic Locking System was design to prevent this. It creates a tight connection for most hard surface flooring tiles or panels, preventing spills and moisture from ever seeping through. It also uses an easy, glue-free installation system.
- Fold-n-Tap™ Locking System: A newer take on float installation, Fold-n-Tap™ can also be installed on existing floors, even if they aren’t perfectly installed or arranged. It’s also guaranteed to block water for up to 3 days, even if spills aren’t cleaned right away.
Carpet flooring is always installed over some type of padding. While this is common, in recent years, some hard surface floors feature attached padding as well. Both serve the same purpose: less noise, more comfort, and extending the floor’s lifetime.
- Urethane Foam Padding: This type of padding typically costs and performs the least. Be careful if it’s included as free padding to sweeten the deal on a carpet installation; it won’t hold up well under moderate traffic. It’s most useful in places like apartments, where carpet is replaced frequently.
- Re-bond Urethane Padding: This is typically the padding used in homes. It’s a blend of various types of foam, giving it a distinct multi-colored look.
- Memory Foam Padding: This is often regarded as the most comfortable padding. Its longevity varies by manufacturer and specifications.
- Rubber Padding: Rubber padding is a great choice for moisture-prone areas. It’s one of the longest-lasting carpet pads, although it isn’t compatible with every type of carpet.